HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KRON) — Six of the seven Half Moon Bay farm workers who were murdered in a mass shooting two days ago were identified by the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Coroner on Wednesday.
The coroner identified the victims killed as:
- Zhishen Liu, 73, of San Francisco
- Qizhong Cheng, 66, of Half Moon Bay
- Marciano Martinez Jimenez, 50, of Moss Beach
- Yetao Bing, 43, residence unknown
- Aixiang Zhang, 74, of San Francisco
- Jingzhi Lu, 64, of Half Moon Bay
The seventh murder victim’s name is Jose Romero Perez, according to a criminal complaint filed in court by prosecutors. The victims’ families are in need of things like socks, T-shirts, and food. You can donate by visiting HERE.
An eighth shooting victim, Pedro Romero Perez, survived, according to court documents. Pedro Romero Perez was airlifted to Stanford Medical Center and underwent surgery.
Investigators said the victims were gunned down on two farms by Chunli Zhao, a 66-year-old Half Moon Bay resident who worked for the farms.
San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus described the mass shooting as a horrific case of “workplace violence.” Prosecutors said Zhao was “angry at several co-workers over perceived mistreatment.”
Victims included both Hispanic and Asian farm workers who ranged in ages from 43-74, according to the sheriff.
Marciano Martinez Jimenez was a manager at one of the farms, his brother said. He never mentioned Zhao nor conflicts at work, the brother added.
“I don’t understand why all this happened. He was a good person. He was polite and friendly with everyone. He never had any problems with anyone,” Servando Martinez Jimenez said in Spanish.
One of the farms targeted by the gunman, California Terra Garden, confirmed Zhao was one of its employees. Martinez Jimenez was reportedly a supervisor for California Terra Garden, previously known as Mountain Mushroom Farm. The second targeted farm was Concord Farms.
The General Consulate of Mexico in San Francisco said two of the deceased victims were Mexican nationals, as well as the surviving victim. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs extends its condolences to the relatives for their irreparable loss and will continue to provide assistance and consular protection to affected people,” officials with the Consulate wrote.
Martinez Jimenez had lived in the United States for 28 years after arriving from the Mexican state of Oaxaca.
Sheriff Corpus said some of the victims were migrant workers who lived with their families on the farms. Children may have been present when the killing spree unfolded, she said.
The majority of coastal farmworkers around Half Moon Bay are Latinos, but Mountain Mushroom Farm was one of the few that employed Asian workers, said Belinda Hernandez, executive director of ALAS, a farmworker advocacy group. The mushroom farm offered year-round work.
On Friday, January 27 at 5 p.m. there will be a vigil at the Mac Dutra Plaza (across from City Hall/ 504 Main St. in Half Moon Bay). The mayor says city streets may be closed to allow crowds to gather.
On January 31 at 4 p.m., there will be an interfaith service at Cunha Middle School which is also the Boys and Girls Club of the Coastside in Half Moon Bay. The address is 600 Church Street in Half Moon Bay. Following the service, there will be a procession to the IDES Hall at 735 Main Street for a “community dinner.”
California’s coast was flooded by nine atmospheric rivers this winter. Sheriff’s Captain Eamonn Allen said, “The coast has experienced its share of challenges over the last few weeks. There’s been flooding. There’s been people out of work.”
“The floods have been very devastating to the farmworkers. A lot of them lost all their possessions. They don’t have insurance. When the fields get flooded, they don’t work,” said Darlene Tenes, founder of farmworker caravan.
District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said Monday’s violence was the deadliest mass shooting in San Mateo County history. Zhao made his first court appearance Wednesday afternoon to face seven counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. Zhao did not enter a plea and was escorted in handcuffs back to a county jail in Redwood City.
Wagstaffe, speaking outside the courthouse, declined to share any additional details on Zhao’s motive in the killing of his current and former coworkers, saying he wanted to keep the details out of the public eye to ensure a fair trial.
Prosecutors said Zhao was born in China, he is not an American citizen, and it’s unclear whether he was in the country legally. Prosecutors urged the judge to deny bail because Zhao is considered a flight risk, as well as a danger to the public.
His attorneys did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.